China Informed: a news service focused on China, Taiwan and Hong Kong

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Tue, Mar 11, 1997
Patten Responds to Qian

also: Xinjiang vows to smash 'bad people'; PRC censoring foreign media; info on Chongqing; and more . . .

Please read the statement of purpose.

I have fixed the link to the New York Times registration page. An extraneous character in the address prevented some readers from arriving there.

Hong Kong: Governor Chris Patten issued a statement today in response to yesterday's remarks by Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen who said Hong Kong textbooks not in accord with the Basic Law and the 'one country, two systems' principle will be re-written or replaced. According to Inside China, the governor said: "The Joint Declaration and the Basic Law guarantee Hong Kong's autonomy in educational matters after 1997." Patten added, "They are clear that educational policies are to be set by the Hong Kong government), and not to be vetted for political correctness by Chinese officials," Inside China reports. The governor said Hong Kong students currently are learning about the 'one country, two systems' and Basic Law, but China could not dictate to teachers which facts are 'politically correct' and which are not.

Ethnic problems: 'China Vows to Smash Plots to Disrupt Ethnic Unity' is the headline of the Inside China story which quotes from the Xinjiang Daily. The xinjiang paper published an article condemning those who wish to split Xinjiang from China and foment discord within the territory. The article quotes Ismail Amat, Minister of the State Nationalities Affairs Commission: "We have resolute faith in our victory over ethnic splittist activities." Amat also said, "There is no opportunity for splittist activities, which go against groups. Failure is inevitable."

The Xinjiang Daily article did not mention the bombings in Urumqi, but the article obviously served as an open letter to those living in the region. People were urged to remain vigilant against the "very small number of bad people who endanger the security of the state . . .", reports Inside China. "Just let them show their heads and we will -- foil their plots and strike at their puffed-up arrogance," the Xinjiang Daily article said.

Chinese press: the mainland government has censored a number of foreign newspapers and magazines for inlcuding articles on Deng Xiaoping and the unrest in Xinjiang, reports the South China Morning Post. Internet news sites, including those for CNN and the Boston Globe, have been blocked, reports the paper. These actions represent an unfortunate but regular pattern upon the part of the mainland government and the Chinese Communist Party. In this case, analyses on Deng's passing and the future of China and reports on the state of ethnic unrest in Xinjiang and the bombings there have been deemed too sensitive. Some publications have simply been removed from the market. The censoring and bans apparently do not effect those who subscribe to the publications.

Has China Informed been blocked too?

Risky business: narcotics are bad enough, but salt can be unhealthy too: another article from Inside China, itself a Reuters dispatch quoting a paper in Shenzhen, reports that an illegal salt production and distribution operation was 'smashed' in Dongguan city in southern Guangdong Province. Few details have been released, but the Shenzhen article reported that the illegal salt would have had harmful effects on the cities market and people's health. Perhaps the illegal stuff didn't contain iodine.

The salt monopoly was a lucrative venture for the imperial governments and the Daotai's involved in administering it for the Court. I assume the provincial or national government still maintains its monopoly on this vitally important substance and would not have wanted to relinquish taxes from its sale, to illegal upstarts. But this is speculation on my part.

Labour safety: a private mine in Henan province exploded last week, killing 86 miners. The Inside China article notes mine safety continues to be a serious issue in China, despite official campaigns to improve it. (See Risky business in the Tue, Feb 25 issue on the Recent News page).

Taiwan: the country is making a transition to a five-day work week, but an exact timetable has not been devised.

Chongqing: yesterday's issue included a link to a web site with information on Sichuan Province. Here's one to Chongqing's home page. Readers will remember the stories from the past few days concerning this city on the Yangzi River. Slated to be granted 'provincial' status in this session of the National People's Congress, Chongqing will become a mega-city home to 30 million people. This redesignation will tear it away from Sichuan in a move some interpret as Beijing's way to reign in the power of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. A Chinese version (GB) is here. And there's a picture of Chongqing and ships at anchor (118K)( 438x274 pixels).

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China Informed

a news service focused on China, Taiwan and Hong Kong
©1997 Matthew Sinclair-Day